A Korean premiere, in JapanLast Tuesday, more than 300 people were gathered in front of the Toei Theater in the Ginza district of Tokyo, waiting for the premiere of a new film. After two hours of waiting in line, fans began screaming when one of the lead actors showed up.
The actor was Kim Jeong-hun, a Korean, and the movie was a Korean film, “DMZ: Bimujangjidae” ― premiering in Japan weeks before it would open in its home country.
“I decided to hold the premiere in Japan first, hoping that the ‘Korean Wave’ fever, which started with Korean TV dramas, would continue with Korean films,” said director Lee Gyu-hyeong, 47, who in the past has promoted Japanese culture in Korea.
The premiere drew an audience of 1,000 people, both Koreans and Japanese. Mr. Lee said he thought the film would interest the Japanese because it deals with the border between South and North Korea. “The reason Korean films such as ‘Shiri’ and ‘Joint Security Area’ were popular in Japan was because of curiosity about Korea’s situation as a divided country and its military culture,” he said.
“DMZ” is based on the director’s autobiographical novel “A Private’s Journey,” about his experiences as a border guard in the Korean military during the late 1970s. During that time, many secret tunnels dug by North Korean infiltrators were discovered under the Demilitarized Zone, and there were frequent skirmishes between North and South.
Matsukata Hiroki, a Japanese actor, said, “Even though Korean films are not yet as powerful as Korean TV dramas, they draw a lot of attention in Japan.”
The film is scheduled to open in Korea on Nov. 26, and in Japanese theaters next April.
by Lee Sang-eon